Frequently-asked questions regarding Public Libraries1

Did each of the 99 counties in Iowa receive a Carnegie grant?

No, although there are 99 Iowa counties and there were 99 communities that accepted the grants, there was not a grant for every county.

How did Iowa compare to other states in the number of total grants received for public libraries?

Iowa received the 4th highest number of state grants from Carnegie. One hundred and four (104) communities received grants, although 5 communities decided not to accept their grants. Illinois received 105 grants, California received 121, and Indiana received 155 grants.

How did Iowa compare to other states in the total number of public libraries built from Carnegie grants?

Iowa communities built the 6th highest number of libraries from Carnegie grants. One hundred and one (101) public libraries in Iowa were built; Indiana built 164 libraries, California built 142 libraries, Illinois and New York built 106 libraries each, and Ohio built 105 libraries.

How many Carnegie grants funded public libraries built in the county seat?

Sixty-six (66) of the Carnegie grants were for a public library in the county seat. Many of the remaining 33 counties already had a library building in their county seat by the time of the Carnegie grants. Interestingly, Guthrie Center and Harlan were both county seats.

How many counties had more than one public library funded by a Carnegie grant?

There were 19 counties that received more than one Carnegie grant. There were 17 counties that received 2 grants: Black Hawk, Calhoun, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clinton, Grundy, Hancock, Jasper, Linn, Marion, Mills, Montgomery, O’Brien, Page, Sac, Tama, Wapello, and Woodbury. Hardin County received 3 grants, while¬†Harrison County received 4 grants.

How many counties had no libraries funded by Carnegie?

There were 22 counties that did not build a Carnegie library.

How much total grant money from Carnegie did Iowa receive for public libraries?

Iowa received $1,495,706 from Carnegie which was the 8th highest amount given to a state. New York received $6,449,200, Pennsylvania received $4,621,148, Ohio received $2,871,483, California received $2,776,987, Indiana received $2,508,644, Illinois received $1,661,200, and Michigan received $1,655,950.

Which was the first library that was not a county seat?

The first non-county seat library funded by a Carnegie grant was Hawarden.

Why is there a discrepancy between the number of Iowa grants received and the number of communities which built public libraries?

One hundred and four (104) communities applied for grants, but only 99 towns actually built their libraries. There were 5 communities which did not accept their grants.

  • On January 2, 1903, Oelwein received a grant of $12,500 which the community did not accept because the city council would not vote for the 10% tax support (p. 128-129).
  • On March 14, 1905, Manson received a grant for $6000 which the community did not accept because the city was legally not able to support the library at the annual rate of 10% (p. 126-127).
  • On April 11, 1905, Guthrie Center received a grant for $5000 which was voted down by the community (p. 124-125).
  • On September 29, Harlan received a grant for $10,000 which the community did not accept because they wanted more funds (p. 124-125).
  • On January 28, 1916, Belmond received a grant for $7500 that was not accepted because a local philanthropist made a gift of a library (p. 116-117).
1 Information regarding number of Iowa grants, the number of state grants, and the amount of state monies is taken from: George Bobinski, Carnegie Libraries, Their History and Impact on American Public Library Development(Chicago: American Library Association, 1969).